Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
|Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: An uplifting and inspirational look at a man who truly works tirelessly to help the poorest and neediest in society. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: January 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
Dr Paul Farmer has dedicated his life to helping the poorest and neediest in society. He works tirelessly to help people less fortunate than him. Dedicated his life and works tirelessly - phrases we've heard many times about many wonderful people, but when reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, you'll realise there's not a shred of hyperbole about these claims. Farmer began working with tuberculosis and AIDS patients in Haiti, and then worked with them, and worked for them, and worked with them, and worked for them, and worked with them. In an area where treating the disease is just one part of the problem, where poverty is rife, he has transformed an area, saved countless lives, and made an incredible difference to many people. Partners In Health, the healthcare organisation he set up with his colleagues, takes this work worldwide.
Tracy Kidder won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1981 book The Soul of a New Machine and the quality of writing here is of the high standard you would expect. With such an inspirational story, you almost couldn't fail to move people. However, Kidder ensures this is no unthinking hagiography - Farmer's flaws (small though they may be) are present, and make him all the more fascinating. Particularly intriguing is seeing how his relationship with Ophelia Dahl (daughter of Roald) breaks up, and then develops into a powerful friendship and work relationship. When reading a biography, you want to get a real sense of the person, whoever they may be, rather than simply tell what they did. All that Paul Farmer has done is amazing; what drives him and who he is are amazing too.
Mountains Beyond Mountains is crisply written and cries out to be read in a small handful of long and emotional sittings. The pages fly by. Farmer's family life is woven with stories of Haiti's locals, international health projects, the instigation and development of Partners in Health, and a brief history of Haiti's woes (including taking a moment to rightly highlight Mother Theresa's shameful association with the Duvaliers). It's heartbreaking to think of a world in which such great work is necessary; it's uplifting to think of a world in which such great work is done.
Quite simply, Mountains Beyond Mountains is a book you should read. It's not smug and self-satisfied, it's not poverty and suffering porn, it's not predictable. It's genuinely touching, inspiring and excellently written. Highly recommended.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
Murder in the Latin Quarter (Aimee Leduc) by Cara Black is set in Haiti and is an excellent read. Although we've not reviewed it, The Comedians by Graham Greene is a must for anyone interested in Haiti's history. The Shock of the Old by David Edgerton and Heart of Darfur by Lisa French Blaker are also must-reads.
You can read more book reviews or buy Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder at Amazon.com.
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